Our clients usually like to learn the website development process that we follow. They find it helpful to know what is planned and needs to be done in terms of content. They also like to be aware of the necessary information and business strategy we use. It also involves the estimation of resources and time they need to fulfill the project. Of course, every client’s website differs from the other but there are some main similarities we are going to explore in this article. We hope while reading it you will find out some information on a website development process that will make you understand this process better. Read on!
From the client’s perspective, the process of creation of a website sometimes seems very easy. But it happens only if the client isn’t aware of the development stages. But if you are really looking to hire a web development company to build a great website, you must understand how your project will be developed.
1. Everybody needs a website
If you are still asking yourself a question if you need a website for your business, there is only one answer – certainly yes! There is no business without an online presence nowadays. We live in the digital era where consumer behavior changes according to modern technologies. And if you are not part of this world, you can’t make a great impression on your potential clients. They won’t take you seriously if you don’t have a website.
As website development professionals we’re here to tell you about the website development process in details. We have large experience in creating websites for:
- fintech, and
We develop fully responsive static and dynamic websites with different types of content – from landing pages and blogs to e-commerce and video streaming. Syndicode developers and designers have a deep understanding of business processes and we know what can make a big influence on the new website’s effectiveness. We stand for Ruby on Rails website development that enables writing less code and less demanding support after the development but it doesn’t mean we stick to a certain technology. It really depends on the purpose and main goals of your website.
2. Website development process
First of all, before starting your development process, you shouldn’t underestimate the role of a product manager. Product managers always face complex situations such as having to understand the environment in which the product resides, or resolving a request for a feature in an already existing environment. In any case, it’s better to have a clear understanding of the main approaches and principles you can apply to reconstruct and resolve these complex situations. The product manager is basically the CEO of the product. They are responsible for the strategy and the development of the product, as well as the team of employees that are involved in every stage of making the product.
There also exist many product development methodologies, some of the mainly-used are Waterfall, Spiral, Rapid Application Development (RAD), Rational Unified Process (RUP), and Agile. These development methodologies can provide a sequential and structured approach, such as the Waterfall, as well as an iterative approach, such as the RUP that results in immediate development. There is also an entirely iterative approach and that’s the Agile.
The key differences between RUP and Agile are the time periods they work, that can end in weeks rather than months and the work performed. The important thing is that Agile is a software development methodology that is based on a set of principles, like:
- Individuals and interactions over process and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Syndicode is Agile. And now let’s look at all important stages of the software development process.
- Discovery Session.
It is basically a meeting between the project team and client to understand the client’s business, its goals, strategy, how the operation process goes and so on. Usually, the discovery process occurs after a contract is signed. But some software development agencies are proposing it as a paid project prior to a formal proposal or retainer relationship. This is a commitment for clients who hesitate to sign a year-long contract, and it’s a good way to build trustful relationships with the client before sharing the inner knowledge. The discovery session should be run or led by a person with a high-level understanding of the business and who is able to have these special type of in-depth conversations with clients. This person should be also able to translate the information gathered on a session into a strategic document outlining the direction of future campaigns and projects.
- Product development plan.
Software development research aimed to understand the current tech trends and main characteristics of the technologies meant to be used in this particular project. All the difficulties and best practices count. Apart from the tech side, project manager and business analyst do research about implementation and maintenance prospects. SWOT for current competitors should be prepared as well. After this research, we usually create a plan for the software development process and wait for the client’s approval. Our teams spend the first hours of each iteration checking through the iteration planning, and a part of that process is the decomposition of requirements that will turn into work that the team needs to complete. Task decomposition is not usually considered to be done until the requirements are ready for iteration. This guarantees that the entire team can check and discuss each requirement and determine a general strategy for everyone.
The good design definitely defines the success of most software products. And software development discovers new ways to use the design for various products. The effectiveness of the application is measured by the optimum combination of functionality and attractiveness. Visual communication with your customers must be simple, intuitive and engaging.
Designing applications and websites pose special challenges:
- facilitating intricate tasks and workflows,
- enabling users to comprehend and manage complex data,
- accommodating a rich variety of user roles, needs, and processes.
The key to successful application design is not a good idea or a good feature – it all comes down to the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI). It doesn’t matter how great your idea is if the app is looking horrible and impossible to use easily. If you’re developing a web or mobile application, one of the major things you need to get right is the way your app looks and feels. For example, if your field is eCommerce, a poorly designed app will lose you many potential customers.
UX (User Experience) design is the process of creating products, systems or services that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function. It also includes meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership. UX handles the architecture of the content and the sitemap. The main task of UX design is to create products which can be tailored to meet a user’s specific needs, but which provides functionality that is predictable. In other words, UX Design is to study user behavior and understand user motivations with the goal to design better digital experiences.
In a nutshell, UX design process steps are the next:
- User research
– UX wireframing
– UX prototyping
– UI design (Visual and Interaction)
- User Testing
This is a UX design to decide whether users will turn pages or scroll the content. And to take such responsibility on details and predict their impact UX designers should know a lot about human behavior. UX designers usually come from a variety of backgrounds such as visual design, programming, psychology, and interaction design. By the way, you can check the works of Syndicode product designers on Dribbble and Behance!
The development process usually is divided into two parts: frontend and backend.
Backend is the development of the website that is seen by developers that make the user interface work. The backend developers create the server-side apps, database and integrate business logic. User can’t even imagine what processes run on background, how the application interacts with the database, process logic, calculates overall values and so on.
Every developer should test his own changes locally before pushing them to remove the repository. First of all, new functionality should be covered with tests to prove code performs well. When new code gets to the remote repository and approved by Jenkins it reviewed with other developers to eliminate bugs which were invisible for the author of code. If everything is ok new code gets merged and goes to a staging server where it can be tested by QA. If bugs will be found during testing QA opens issues on GitHub with detail information about the bug. Read more about the procedures here.
Our software development process consists of several phases that are provided in iterations. Earlier, we had already said that Syndicode is Agile. Agile software development is a conceptual framework for undertaking software engineering projects. The main goal of Agile methods is minimizing the risk by developing software in short timeboxes, called iterations, which typically last one to four weeks. Each timebox is like a mini software project that includes all the tasks necessary to release the mini-increment of new functionality.
The first thing we usually do is to recall the ground of software quality theory. A software product must have certain quality attributes to meet certain non-functional requirements. When we say that a software product is secure, portable, scalable, that are its quality attributes. It is also important for developers to remember all non-functional requirements if they want to build a successful product. Changing quality attributes software architecture may be expensive in the later stages. That’s also useful to know what quality attributes shouldn’t be in the product architecture. In this case, the developers would know which qualities to sacrifice to meet the important requirements.
One of the most important things a website development agency does before the launch is a QA stage.
(QA) Quality Assurance is a set of activities for ensuring quality in software engineering processes. This stage ensures that software meets and complies with the defined or standardized quality specifications. QA is a process that checks the developed software to ensure it meets the desired quality measures. Software testing is the process of checking developed software for any mistakes or bugs. This helps to validate and eventually verify the product as to whether it is ready for the market.
The client validated the product and goes through all the project’s development stages. That’s the most important part. If the client is not satisfied with the product’s performance (which is never happen in Syndicode) – the iterations are run again to meet all the requirements.
Software maintenance is a continuation of the collaboration with the client to improve, modify and update software product after delivery to correct faults and to improve performance.
There are 4 categories of software maintenance:
- Corrective –
to rectify some bugs detected while the system is in use, or to improve the performance of the system.
- Adaptive –
to modify and update when the customer needs the product to run on new platforms/operating systems/hardware/software.
- Perfective –
to support the new features or to change functionalities according to the customer’s demands.
- Preventive –
to prevent future problems of the software. Some problems might be not significant at this moment but may cause serious issues in the future.
Maintenance is the main indicator of a software development partner’s reliability and experience. Especially when we talk about SaaS products. Syndicode is ready to prove our level!
3. What do you need for your website?
3.1. Domain and Hosting
To have a website, you will definitely need both a domain and hosting. The domain is a way how people can find your website, and your hosting is a space on a server where you can keep all of your website content. They are like the website’s street address and a house. Domain names are regulated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Remember that web hosting is independent and doesn’t correlate with registering of the domain name. The domain name can be registered with a domain register without using web hosting services.
Speaking about hosting, we might dive deeper into IT infrastructure architecture.
In general, IT infrastructure covers the next building blocks:
- operating systems,
- end-user devices.
IT infrastructure covers the client and server nodes of the hardware configuration, the infrastructure applications running on them, the services they offer to applications, as well as the protocols and networks that connect applications and nodes. And Syndicode covers that all!
A content management system (CMS) refers to the creation and modification of digital content. CMS usually support multiple users in their collaboration, making it possible to fulfill document management with different styles of workflows. There are already possibilities of using cloud-based CMS. They have such advantages as:
- Speed up Development time. You don’t have to install, configure and customize your cloud-based CMS.
- Language Agnostic. Whatever application you want to build can consume the content via API.
- Ready for the Future. Whatever platform or language you’re going to use in the future, the content will be available via a service that doesn’t care what the final application is built on.
- Eliminate Technical Debt. With cloud-based CMS incompatibility with installed plugins or changes in server versions are completely avoidable.
- Better Collaboration. You’ll be able to easily add people to work on a project.
We prefer to think about using all the possibilities.
4. What technologies are used nowadays in website development?
4.1. Using well-known CMSs like WordPress, Wix, Joomla, and Drupal.
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS). According to Web Technology Surveys by the end of 2018, 32.3% of the total number of existing websites were created by this system. It’s becoming more and more popular because of a number of reasons:
- WordPress CMS is distributed under an open license agreement (GNU GPL). It can be freely used for any purpose, including commercial.
- Using WordPress, you can create an online store, a personal blog, a corporate website, an information portal, an industry resource, etc.
- WordPress website owners have access to paid and free templates that can be used to customize their appearance. And with the help of plugins, they can solve all possible technical problems.
- You do not need special knowledge to work with that system.
Wix is the better choice in the niche of developing business websites, landing pages, and blogs. It also allows you to create good-quality forums using a proprietary application from AppMarket – WixForum, and stores with a nice design. Trading through a system with a visual editor is interesting because with a limited number of commodity items. All of them will have to be added manually, so a reasonable restriction on the volume of the display case is about 100-200 positions. The platform has a huge set of widgets for implementing various functions and allows users to additionally install applications from AppMarket.
Joomla! is an open-source content management system (CMS). Setting up of Joomla is quite logical and understandable and, at the same time, allows you to create a very flexible site. There are two fields where Joomla! is definitely winning: while building a multi-language website and social platforms. This CMS offers many options to help you easily configure any of these types of websites.
Its key functions are:
- Creating and managing any type of content using reliable visual editors and code editors.
- Administration of your content and users using the control panel.
- Increasing the functionality of your website with the help of extensions.
- Customizing your website style with templates.
- Improving pages with built-in SEO optimization features.
Drupal can also be run on other technology stacks like:
- The operating system may be Windows or Mac OS instead of Linux.
- The web server may be Nginx or IIS instead of Apache.
- The database can be PostgreSQL or SQLite instead of MySQL, or another MySQL-compatible replacement, such as MariaDB or Percona.
4.2. From scratch with PHP or Ruby
Custom software development is being done as a work-for-hire project for a particular client (the group of people or another company). The list of requirements, product’s idea, need and money on development come from the client/customer. Usually, it takes a lot of time to develop a custom product. But we can mention some of the pros of development website from scratch:
- Custom software is a one-of-a-kind solution developed for a particular customer.
- For custom software, changes are done when the customer needs them. Customer’s requirement can be fulfilled whenever the customer asks for it. Custom software is made according to the time, the budget and the needs defined by the client.
- The custom software development is controlled by customer/client. Only the customer decides what to do with the product.
- Custom software development (tailor-made software) may cost a fortune, but the customer gets a unique product.
- It has functionality made to solve a problem for a specific entity.
- It is focused on the features the customer needs.
- Custom software architecture needs to be balanced between scalability and current client’s requirements.
- Its product should have the best quality to impact client’s revenue and progress.
Ruby is our language of choice. We stand for Ruby on Rails website development. This framework is a frequent choice for website developers because of the next reasons:
- Speed of RoR development. The procedure of the programming is much quicker compared with different structures and language programming.
- Ruby language provides engineers with the style and the conciseness of the programming.
- Rails abstracts and streamlines the conventional recurring tasks – this helps software architects and developers to design websites and applications the easier way.
- The key standards of the Ruby on Rails website advancement are the convention over the arrangement.
- The convention on Rails also makes it possible for the web developers to shift on different Rails tasks.
- When it comes to website development, the system of the Ruby on Rails creates a simple way of altering the changes.
- Ruby on Rails website coding is exceptionally coherent and for the most part self-recording.
- The Ruby on Rails website development has strong support in testing which makes it pretty convenient.
- Ruby on Rails is open source. And you wouldn’t pay extra money when it comes to licensing.
- Rails follows DRY guidelines. Ruby on Rails websites utilize an arrangement of codes and naming traditions that wipes out the requirement for designing each and every part of the website.
The range of industries which using Ruby on Rails for their websites is really wide: from shopping, crowdsourcing and education to music, sports, and entertainment. Among the most famous examples are:
- We Heart It
And there are more. You can explore sites and projects on Ruby on Rails in Syndicode portfolio.
5. Hiring a website development team
Some of the startup owners get lost on the tech stack stage. What technology to choose? The more they find out about the technologies to implement their idea, the more they can’t really decide on it. Because there are too many variants. And their amount grows every day.
Syndicode is extremely proud of the fact that we did contribute to a large amount of great Rails solutions. From our experience we can advise:
Most of the Ukrainian developers are educated, professional and not very expensive. Plus, they have a good level of English.
- Make sure you hire trusted and experienced developers what is visible from their portfolio and easily discovered from the interview.
- If it’s possible, take advantage of working with a software development company. The company will do the tech work for you (including documents, taxes, recruitment if needed and so on). More reasons for that are shown in the article about marketplace development outsourcing.
By the way, Syndicode is Ukrainian software development company with a unique approach in client communication. Ukraine is extremely popular as a software outsourcing destination and its IT industry is continuing to show a fantastic growth rate. The statistics and data collected from different resources as well as our experience, show that Ukrainian software developers are highly in demand internationally, they have excellent development skills, they learn new programming languages very fast, they are incredibly motivated. If you are considering the possibility of software outsourcing/outstaffing and product development, our team can be a great choice in terms of software quality and the costs involved. And Syndicode will help you to be ahead of the pack! Look how many benefits there are if you decide to work with us – communicating a client with us makes him our friend and loyal partner. Develop websites with Syndicode!
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